Before the Show: 5-1-09
Theater: Meridian 16
Screen: No. 13 (third floor)
Location: Downtown Seattle
Chain: Regal Entertainment Group, which, according to their Web site, operates “6,773 screens in 549 theatres in 39 states and the District of Columbia as of April 2, 2009.” That’s a helluva screen-to-theater ratio. REG’s corporate offices are in Knoxville, Tennessee, on their own street: 7132 Regal Lane.
Operating: The Meridian? Since December 4, 1996. But when it switched hands from Cineplex Odeon to Regal, I have no idea.
Arrived: 3:49, six minutes before scheduled showtime.
Before the scheduled showtime:
Unlike AMC theaters, which offers moviegoers (or demands moviegoers watch) “The AMC Movie Watchers Network” before scheduled showtimes, Regal Cinemas, at least at the Meridian, offers (or demands) music and slideshow. The music is generally slow hip-hop and pop (what a nice man Nat King Cole is to keep singing songs with his daughter!), while the slideshow includes overt ads (a fizzing Coke with the line “Thinkin’ About It?”) and subtle ads (How the makers of “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” worked with Levi Strauss Co. to get the right vintage clothes). There are ads to advertise during the slideshow, ads to rent the theater, ads for Regal Gift Cards, and “Know Your Ratings” promos. The movie-related quizzes (“Who said...?”) are often nothing quotes from movies that haven’t opened yet. (I.e., ads.) Yesterday we got “Live long and prosper,” which, while it’s from a movie that hasn’t opened yet (“Star Trek”), at least has the advantage of being famous.
3:55: Slideshow ends, video ads begin.
- Nintendo DSI ad with the elephant man/teenager. A sad commentary on what we think is funny.
- Canon HD Camcorder using a quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Tender is the Night” to demonstrate how images have now surpassed words. A sad commentary on what we think of words.
- “Year One,” the TV ad
- “Expedition Africa” on the History Channel
- “Wipeout” on ABC
- Sprite ad
- Sprint chimp ad
4:00: Lights go down. The following preview has been approved...
- “Ice Age”: An extended, funny scene that gives away nothing of the plot and kind of makes me want to see the movie. It has a Road Runner/Wiley E. Coyote vibe to it. It’s also less trailer than cartoon short. Appreciated.
- “District 9”: The most interesting trailer of the bunch — for the audience reaction if nothing else. It begins documentary-style with people complaining about new immigrants: “Why do they have to live here?” You get shots of slums. It feels like an independent film, all liberal and shit, and you can almost feel the audience slumping in their chairs. Then we see the immigrants. They’re extraterrestrials. Boom! To a man, everyone sits up straighter and shuts up.
- “Funny People”: I want to see this new Judd Apatow movie but I hope they haven’t given away too much here. From the trailer we know: It’s about a friendship between two comedians, one rising (Rogen) one established and a movie star (Sandler). But wait: the established comedian is dying. But wait: he might be beating it. And from the experience he realizes how precious life is. And there’s a girl he loves. OK... so how much of the story is left?
- “Terminator: Salvation”: Wake me when it’s over. The whole thing. This whole franchise.
- “Night at the Museum” sequel: He's at the Smithsonian now, which allows more mingling of high and low culture: Amelia Earhart and Darth Vader. We also get miniature Albert Einsteins looking like the California Raisins and singing K.C. and the Sunshine Band songs. We want our geniuses funky in this country. Or the butt of jokes. Or both. Like here.
Movie actually starts: 4:12 — 17 minutes after scheduled showtime.